Final, 2-1 Mexico: The referee blows the final whistle. Mexico beats the United States and begins the final round of World Cup qualifying by ending its Columbus curse.
The game looked set to be a classic “tale of two halves,” but Rafael Marquez, Mexico’s 37-year-old icon, stunned the Americans with an unforgettable late goal. Mexico dominated the first half, taking the lead after 20 minutes through Miguel Layun, but Team USA came out fighting in the second period, and Bobby Wood scored four minutes after the restart. The hosts had the better scoring opportunities as the game neared full time, but Mexico created, then converted, the last best chance it had on the evening.
It’s Team USA’s first home World Cup qualifying loss in 15 years.
It’s Mexico’s first road win over USA in a World Cup qualifier since 1972.
Team USA will visit Costa Rica on Tuesday, as it seeks to earn its first points of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion coming up on NESN.com/soccer.
90th minute +3, 2-1 Mexico: The referee dismisses Salcedo after showing him a second yellow card. This one’s for time wasting.
Now the players are pushing and shoving.
90th minute, 2-1 Mexico: There will be three minutes of added time in the second half.
89th minute, 2-1 Mexico: Rafael Marquez heads in what must be the game-winning goal. It came from Mexico’s first corner kick of the game.
Layun hit the corner kick to the near post, and Marquez glanced his header past Guzan.
85th minute, 1-1: After 40 pulsating minutes, the game finally starts to settle into a rhythm in the second half.
81st minute, 1-1: Michael Orozco replaces Besler in Team USA’s final substitution.
79th minute, 1-1: Johnson blocks Lozano’s shot off the goal line, as Mexico threatens to restore the lead it once had.
77th minute, 1-1: Talavera saves Altidore’s free kick over the crossbar.
76th minute, 1-1: Salcedo ridiculously fouls Christian Pulisic and earns himself a yellow card.
74th minute, 1-1: Wood swivels and fires a shot on goal, but the well-positioned Talavera bats it away.
74th minute, 1-1: Team USA counters with its second substitution. DeAndre Yedlin replaces Chandler, who appeared to be struggling physically, at right fullback.
73rd minute, 1-1: Mexico makes its final substitution, as Hirving Lozano replaces Vela.
70th minute, 1-1: The referee shows Layun a yellow card for a foul on Wood.
It’s the seventh yellow card of the game. Mexico has four, and the U.S. has three.
68th minute, 1-1: The referee shows U.S. fullback Matt Besler a yellow card for a foul on Dos Santos.
Mexico has a free kick in a dangerous position and wastes it.
64th minute, 1-1: The referee shows Mexico forward Carlos Vela a yellow card for a foul on Jermaine Jones.
62nd minute, 1-1: Fabian Johnson curls a shot narrowly over the crossbar, as Team USA continues to blossom in the second half.
58th minute, 1-1: The referee shows Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera a yellow card for diving.
58th minute, 1-1: Bradley rolls a shot on goal, and Talavera collects it easily. Bradley could have passed to Wood, as the U.S. was on a two-on-one break.
49th minute, 1-1: Bobby Wood ties the game.
Altidore turned and surged forward from the midfield and fed Wood at the top of the penalty area. Wood created space with a dribble and slotted his shot past goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.
Team USA continues to reap rewards from the Wood-Altidore attacking axis.
46th minute, 1-0 Mexico: The second half is under way.
Mexico made another substitution during the interval, replacing Diego Reyes with fellow center back Hugo Ayala.
Klinsmann explained his tactical switch at halftime, saying the four-back formation was more familiar to his players.
Halftime, 1-0 Mexico: The first half ends with Mexico leading by a goal.
Team USA should consider itself lucky to be down by only one goal, given the gap in performance between it and Mexico. The visitors have played at a higher tempo, created more chances, hit the post twice and scored once.
The U.S. defenders failed to contain Mexico’s wingers, the midfield offered little control and service to the forwards, and the attackers seemed to lack sharpness on their few scoring opportunities.
Klinsmann’s formation gamble backfired, and he switched to a four-back formation after Corona’s goal. The tweak didn’t help much, as Mexico maintained its advantage on balance of play through the end of the half.
Guardado’s injury didn’t slow Mexico, while Howard’s ailment looms large, given Team USA’s over-reliance on his hands and feet.
45th minute, 1-0 Mexico: There will be three minutes of added time in the first half.
44th minute, 1-0 Mexico: The referee shows U.S. fullback Timmy Chandler a yellow card for a foul on Corona.
42nd minute, 1-0 Mexico: Brooks fouls Hernandez. Mexico swarms Brooks and the referee with hopes of convincing him to show the U.S. center back a second yellow card.
40th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Brad Guzan replaces Howard as the U.S. goalkeeper.
39th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Howard saves Hernandez’s shot, but he tells the U.S. bench he can’t continue.
38th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Howard decides to play through the pain, and the game resumes.
36th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Howard injured himself taking a goal kick. His groin area seems to be the problem.
Comedian Lesley Jones is willing to help the U.S. ‘keeper.
34th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Altidore heads Bradley’s free kick toward Mexico’s goal. Somehow it beats the goalkeeper and a defender, but another Mexico player clears it off the goal line.
30th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Klinsmann ditches the 3-5-2 following Team USA’s lackluster start.
28th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Mexico replaces Guardado with Carlos Salcedo in its first substitution.
27th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Bad news for Mexico, as vital midfielder Andres Guardado limps off with an apparent hamstring injury.
25th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Vela heads a shot off the crossbar. The Mexico forward found space between the center backs to meet Layun’s cross.
The U.S. is reeling, having gone down by one goal.
20th minute, 1-0 Mexico: Layun beats Howard with a deflected long-distance shot. No “Dos A Cero” this time around.
Howard dove in the right direction but seemed to pull back his arm, as the ball reached him only to watch in agony as it rolled inside the post.
18th minute, 0-0: The game is growing rougher, as both teams attempt some strong tackles in the middle third of the field. That’s expected in a game of this magnitude between these teams.
15th minute, 0-0: The referee shows U.S. center back John Brooks a yellow card for a foul on Hernandez.
10th minute, 0-0: The referee shows Mexico defender Diego Reyes a yellow card for impeding U.S. forward Jozy Altidore.
10th minute, 0-0: U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard saves Jesus Corona’s shot off the post.
Hernandez then tries to pounce on the rebound, but he misses it narrowly, and the U.S. clears the danger.
Mexico is enjoying a better start than the U.S.
Seventh minute, 0-0: Miguel Layun finds Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez with a hard-hit cross, but the Mexico striker misses the target on his attempt to redirect it on goal.
Sixth minute, 0-0: Gio Dos Santos mis-hits a cross, similar to Fabian Johnson’s foiled effort just two minutes prior.
Fourth minute, 0-0: It’s a cagey start, with neither side finding any space behind the defense. We’ve already seen Mexico make an early tactical shift in response to Team USA’s unorthodox setup.
Kickoff: The USA vs. Mexico World Cup qualifier is under way.
Fans observed both anthems impeccably, and the prefgame atmosphere is reaching a fever pitch in chilly Columbus.
Pregame: USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is gambling with a new formation, opting for five defenders, three midfielders and two strikers. Klinsmann has played four-defender setup throughout his five-year tenure, and this five-back setup is a big surprise. At least, that’s how the U.S. lineup looks on paper.
Mexico seems to be countering with a 3-4-3 formation.
7:45 p.m.: Here are the starting lineups:
7:30 p.m. ET: The United States men’s soccer team made Mapfre Stadium into Mexico’s house of horror in 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2013. We’ll learn Friday whether to add 2016 to the list of “Dos A Ceros.”
Team USA will host Mexico at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, in a high-stakes 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying game in the CONCACAF region. The U.S. beat Mexico 2-0 at home in the last four cycles, playing Mexico, its biggest rival, in chilly and cramped Columbus each time.
The CONCACAF giants are set to meet again in the first of 10 games they’ll play in the final, or “hexagonal,” round of qualifying for the next World Cup. A good start will be key to Team USA’s qualifying fate, and kicking things off at its spiritual home just might provide enough momentum to take them to Russia 2018.
Join us right here for all the action from Columbus.
Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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